hide in the under brush
brush up against someone...
just be sure you brush it up for theme thursday!
He opened his eyes to the little kitchen across from his bed. It took him a few moments to sit up and feel the pains in his feet, his legs, his back and his hands which gripped the wooden frame under his mattress. He took a deep breath and with a sigh, stood. The new stove turned out to be a blessing; he merely turned the nob and he heat came on for his hot water.
After he relieved himself, he shuffled over to the little hook where he kept his clothes. He winced as he lifted the clothes off the hook. He sat down to put on his pants and stood to zipper them, with mechanical grace. He happened to notice the faded wedding picture on the wall by the door. He walked over to touch it and his gnarled hand straightened the frame on the crumbling plaster. The old man pulled his shirt over his head and for an instant, he was young.
He remembered, he felt, he transformed into the artist of the people. He proudly put on his hat, picked up his brushes and ran out the door with a shout of good-bye to his young wife. The streets were alive and vibrant. The cause bubbled through his veins and his heart. He, the oldest, the artist, would be painting for the people. How his father would have to eat his words--he would be an artist but he would be serving his great country. Productive and creative. The possibilities of the future were as open as the skies above the millet fields in Zhongyuan.
The old man buttoned the shirt and turned off the water, which boiled in the little metal kettle. He let his mind wander to his father's fields, to the quiet, honest roads and families and to endless stars in the night sky. A car's horn outside his apartment window brought him back to his dingy room in the city. He had just enough time to sit down for a cup of tea and a little rice.
He picked up his brushes and examined the bristles. He kept them as clean as an old man could and handled them jealously. No one would take these precious tools. They had served him well all those years and they had written countless hanzi to encourage the worker, the farmer, the child to do better, to be better, for the good of all.
One last sip of tea. One last mouthful of rice. Dishes in the plastic dish tub in the cement sink. Keys in pocket. Brushes safe in their case. Close the door.
His street received no sun at that time of morning. In spite of the blue sky, all seemed gray and dull. He nodded to the street vendor. He nodded to the man selling the morning paper. He avoided the young men who rushed passed him with electronic phones pressed to their ears. The energy of the city had long since lost its charm and appeal. The artists were newer, younger, with new ways of painting on machines he didn't understand or desired to understand.
The old man clutched his brush case and stood a little straighter. He still considered himself an artist, a productive artist, though he now painted posters for the local butcher.